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“Excellent Time in Punta Cana”

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Excellence Punta Cana
Ranked #14 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
cheshiremackat
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Excellent Time in Punta Cana”
Reviewed January 16, 2013

My partner and I stayed for 8 days over the Christmas break. This is my second visit to an Excellence property (my partner's 4th). Overall, this was an amazing experience and we would not hesitate to return.

So - with that said - I will outline a few of the areas that were worth noting (either good or bad). But, please - if you are reading this review, NOTHING was so bad as to even consider another resort. The Excellence was excellent. Go!

Overall, the hotel is a little older than the other resorts - and there is a little wear here and there. However, the company is steadily upgrading the rooms. We had a room with the window in the shower (a nice and romantic feature) but our friends did not have a renovated room - so just beware that not all rooms are equal at this point (but all equally nice).

A small complaint was that there were few pillows for sleeping. During the day the bed is *covered* in display pillows - but for actual sleeping - only three thin pillows (of which I had to give the second pillow to my partner). If you like extra pillows - be prepared to ask!

The grounds are spectacular and very well maintained. Yes, the ocean is *very* rough and the lifeguards do not want you to venture too far out in the water. That being said - the beach and the ocean are the cleanest I have ever experienced. In Cancun you will have sea-grass on the shore - not so in Punta Cana - it was a *very* beautiful beach and we had no trouble finding loungers.

As for the food - we were happy with all the food choices. We ate at all the restaurants and the food was consistently very good. The service however was a little spotty. In Cancun, *all* the staff are friendly and nice - in Punta Cana, it was a little more mixed. That being said - there were absolutely some standouts (in a good way). Overall, I would say the service is a little less pleasant than at the Excellence in Cancun - but that is a very high standard to maintain.

I did want to compliment the resort on a job well done on New Years Eve. WHAT.A.PARTY. We had an absolute blast! The hotel even had fireworks at midnight - wow.

Overall - we had a terrific trip.

A few things to note if you decide to visit. Firstly, the hotel is a bit of a ways away from the airport - so expect a long drive (1 hour) each way. We anticipated this - so it wasn't an issue for us, but you might want to get a bottle of water at the airport before you leave (or use the washroom) as it is a long drive.

Secondly - there are vendors on the beach. Generally, they leave you alone once you listen to them the first time - but it can get a little annoying when you just want to chill. Not much the hotel can do about it though...

Finally - it is an 'adults only' resort - so expect a few topless women, or thong-clad bikini sunbathers (men and women). It didn't bother us any - but some of guests seemed surprised/upset.

Overall - we would *highly* recommend returning to the Excellence!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank cheshiremackat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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MONTREAL
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2013

We went over the Christmas Holidays (Dec 23rd to 30Th) and we based ourselves on the reviews to chose this hotel. Last year we were in DR and enjyed it tremendously.

What a mistake this year, though the accomodations are great, the liquor top shelf, the staff is very helpfull and the setting is very nice....THERE IS NO FOOD TO BE EATEN. As to those who give great reviews, i think there is more than drinking on vacations, the site, ambience, and the food should make a difference.

From the first day, at dinner it was all down hill. Anything we ate was in very small portion, frozen and re-heated.There was a lack of fresh fruits ( this is the carribean, land of the bananas and pineapple? where were they?

I compalined to customer service and the chef made a special plate for us that night, the rest of the trip was miserable and we had to compensate my meals with junk food i had in the room.

Deserts were frozen and small, the fruit plates at breakfast was noen-existant ( i have more fruits in my house at breakfast than what they had on the buffet and they had to serve 900 people). We ate at the lobster house and the lobster and the fish were rubbery. The restaurant at lunch had 2 or 3 choices of salad and a bowl of lettuce that would not be considered an entree at the "olive garden".

For the money i spent and the experience has thought me a valauble lesson. Next year for the holidays i want to be somewere i can make choices, choices on were i eat, what i eat....so i will go to Florida, at least when a meal or service is not up to MY standards, i can get up and go elsewhere but here we were trapped.

Never ever again and if you decide to go here, pack some extra snacks

they offered a voucher to shut me up but decided to take the travel agent to court over this..this was a pure and simple rip-off.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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22 Thank JB1308
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Arrived here on 13th for our 5th visit. Since last year there have been a few changes and all for the better. Rooms have been rennovated. Gone are the old-fashioned four posts on the beds and lovely new mattress. Gone are the pillars around the in-room whirlpool bath (shame didn't get rid of those as they were at it). New shower fittings and wash hand basins. Glass window between shower and room . Some may not want others to see whilst showering but ... the whole effected is that the rooms feel larger, more opened up.

The area around the beach barbecue area has been decked and roofed to form a nice "terrace" restaurant.

Spanking new equipment in the gym which is now managed by the spa and an interesting Excellence shop selling good quality and "different" Excellence-branded goods.

Many staff the same. As ever recognise us - definitely makes you feel special. We're here for 21 nights so looking forward to soaking up the sunshine (say hope as cloudy with showers). But hey, it's warm!!!

Room Tip: If you want something quiet go for block 3 at the end of the resort. First floor have nice views of...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank DangerousLady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013 via mobile

It was very nice. The service was excellent. You have to eat at the Asian Restauran there. Every single detail was perfect.... Definitely I will be back next year. Just love it. And also sing in for the horse ride ( it was very nice). By the way when you go to the Asian Restauran and to the grill ask for Elias he was a great waiter we have a lot of fun with him. I would say thAt Elias is one of the main reasons we will return.

  • Stayed January 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sairej
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

My husband and I travel to Punta Cana two times a year, 1 week in spring 2 weeks in fall. This was our 11th time and The Excellence was Excellent!!! Greeted with chilled champagne and a "Welcome Home". Check in fast, thank you Alexander for giving us a fabulous room. Upgraded to a suite by the cascade pool. Perfect location, fabulous room. Thanks to Vidal and Jonathan for keeping us hydrated at the Cielo pool bar. Thank you Jose for our daily dose of humour at the Martini Bar. Loved those mimos's! Gremy, Carolina, Alexander x2 the Great thanks for taking care of us at the Martini Bar. Felix at the Cafe Kafe, beach bar. Superb service in all restaurants, thanks Brenda, Wendy, Magaly, Elias, Adan, Hernandez. Seafood fabulous, all food was excellent. Moya & Guilermo at the sports bar. Dario our beach boy, always finding us a chair and cushion & got our towels, Jose for getting our cocktails! So many fabulous, outstanding people, Hector, Luis, Doniel, Carlos the Head Chef, Judith, customer service. And we can't forget Super Willy. He'll keep you busy with lots of fun stuff! We were treated like royalty. The grounds are beautiful, beach groomed everyday. Loved the layout, size, not one complaint about this place. We have talked so much about it, we will return in the fall along with 3 other couples. Cannot wait!

Room Tip: Rooms around the cascade pool, quiet and great location.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank homeawayfromhome40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We stayed at the excellence from the 1st-11th of January. I was lucky enough to be surprised by my husband with a Helicopter transfer from the airport to the hotel so was initially saved the bumpy transfer. All started very well. Arrived at the Heliport at the hotel, dropped off and left in the middle of nowhere. No hotel staff to greet us or show us the (long) way to reception. We had to find our own way to the front desk. NOT a good start.

The hotel grounds and pool is, like everyone said, beautiful. We checked in and got shown to our room, a garden view. Turns out it's more of a wasteland view. Old buildings, stray dogs, not very pretty. Never mind, we were there for the experience, not the view as such. The room itself: If I have to be complimentary I'd describe it as rustic chic, if I have to be honest it was pretty damn terrible. NOT what I expected. Chipped paint, dark stains in the "spa bath" (there was no way I was ever getting into it, and the "romantic bath they run you is supposed to be a highlight which you have to pay $25 for) Dark stained lamp shades, awful, thin and torn bedding and the bed, oh the bed. After reading numerous reviews on how hard the bed was I thought I was prepared since I quite like firm beds as it goes, how wrong could I be. This was as good as sleeping on the floor. I came for a holiday, not an endurance contest! As some of the other reviewers have mentioned, this hotel obviously has a cockroach issue- we saw quite a few scurrying about our room.

The staff- oh the wonderful, amazing staff everyone keeps banging on about. Surely they will svae our holiday and turn this disaster around? ERM. Agave for dinner, our first night. Asked for a table to be told there is a wait, take a beeper and wait for it to go off. We sat at the bar right opposite Agave and patiently waited. And waited. After aboout 30minutes I was convinced our beeper had a fault as there was several empty tables but yet we were still stuck at the bar. Husband went off to find "hostess" Her response "i'm so confused, I don't know what's going on". Mmm Finally got a seat, got fed and left. Food was ok, ok being a huge compliment for the Culinary crimes that goes on at this hotel.

Further interaction with the staff had me seriously questioning if I was at the right resort as I found the service ok at best. We tipped extremely well yet I never once felt anyone was overly friendly or made any kind of effort. I DID see this behavior a few times from the staff and what looked like either guests returning for their 20th year or very drunk, old guests feeling up the staff. Very swinging 60's. Gross. My husband and I are both in our early 30's and were some of the youngest guests there. Not a problem as we hate rowdy, drunken places but we got this anyways from the older crowd. It was very much a scene straight from the Dirty Dancing hotel. Guests doing the Meringue whilst getting drunk on horribly sweet cocktails and 60 year old blokes being taught the samba, wearing their speedos, by the pool. CRINGE.

We were desperate to check out after our first night but as we booked directly with the hotel they point blank refused to refund us our money, even after my husband offered to pay a 2 day penalty. We were stuck there! To try and improve matters we upgraded to the Excellence club where the service and amenities were meant to be better. Absolutely no difference. What a waste of money. I even had to ask for the nicer toiletries. The club room was ok and we prefered to spend our time in there drinking wine and avoiding the swingers in the Martini bar. We did meet 2 amazing couples I have to add. (they were normal!)

Had a "romantic dinner" at Chez Isabel and it was hilarious- essence of the sea sounded lovely. I knew not to expect the Ledbury or Fat duck but something tasty at least. What came was Tomato soup with the shrimps floating sadly on the top, tails and heads still intact. YUM. Our palate cleanser was frozen orange syrup ( you'll find the same in the cocktails) in a shot glass. The funniest thing was the waiter obviously knew he was serving a load of crap as before he presented every dish he would approach us with DA DAAA DA DAAAAAAAAAAA in a very onimous tone before swiftly taking it away again after the shock on our faces.

To keep things entertaining, I developed a red rash on the second day. Went to the pharmacy, paid 40 dollars and it did nothing. Had to go see the hotel "doctor" the third day. She demanded $120 upfront and then a further 100 for pretty much the same anti-histamine and cream and suggested it was a heat rash. Despite the fact that I didn't go in the sun and I go to Greece regularly for sun where it gets up to 42 degrees. Anyways, it didn't clear up, went back and she gave me yet more pills which did nothing. Long story short, ended up at a clininc in Punta Cana at a cost of $800 later not including cab fairs, the Doctor there told me it can happen when sheets/towels etc hasn't been washed in hotels and goodness knows what else can breed. I'm not saying it's definitly from the hotel but the standards of cleanliness is appalling. Just a word of warning for future travellers!

We were extremely disappointed and will urge anyone to think twice when they consider this hotel. It's fairly cheap for a reason.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank champagnetravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntsville, Alabama
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2013

My husband surprised me with a trip to Excellence Punta Cana for a landmark birthday. It was an amazing trip! From the minute we pulled up in the cab from the airport, we were greeted by the friendliest staff I have ever experienced. We have stayed at all-inclusive properties in Mexico, Jamaica, St. Thomas, etc. but this was over the top!! Robert, the guest services manager met us immediately after we checked in. He told us to find him if we needed anything during our stay. My husband had our room decorated with balloon, roses, fruit and champagne on my birthday. He also had a huge bouquet of roses delivered and a very special birthday card. Everything about our trip was amazing! The beach is absolutely beautiful and the common areas are so clean and welcoming. The staff serving meals and drinks were always available for whatever we needed. When we left, we felt like we had been in a place where everyone was glad we were there. Will definately go back!

Room Tip: There are pools and common areas all over the property so there isn't a bad room. We had a beac...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank bmkennedy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Excellence Punta Cana

Property: Excellence Punta Cana
Address: Playas Uvero Alto, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#8 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Excellence Punta Cana 4.5*
Number of rooms: 464
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This quaint, colonial-style resort is the ideal destination for couples seeking secluded romantic getaways. Nestled among palms on a perfect white-sand beach on a remote stretch of Punta Cana's Caribbean shoreline, Excellence Punta Cana provides the perfect All-Inclusive playground for adults only and is also home to a world-class spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and an exceptional range of activities and services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Secrets Excellence Punta Cana
Excellence Resort Punta Cana
Excellence Punta Cana Resort
Secrets Punta Cana
Excellence Punta Cana Dominican Republic
Excellence Dominican Republic
Punta Cana Excellence Hotel
Excellence Punta Cana Hotel
Secret Excellence Resort Punta Cana
Punta Cana Secrets Excellence

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